Along with her involvement with the HSUSU, Mubnii also volunteers with YouthCO Aids Society, which is Canada’s first youth driven organization with education and support around HIV and Hepatitis C. Currently in her fourth year with a concentration in infectious diseases, she hopes to become involved with HIV/AIDS research and prevention after graduation. But until then, Mubnii stresses the importance of volunteering- an experience contributing to her future plans, and an education one can get outside of the classroom.
1) Where do you volunteer and for what reasons?
Currently I’m volunteering at YouthCO AIDS Society. I first saw a YouthCO presentation at SFU, and signed up to be a volunteer immediately after. One of the main reasons I volunteer at YouthCO (and in general) is because it feels really great to be surrounded by people who share the same passion as you do about an important cause. I’m part of the Speaker’s Bureau, where we go into educational facilities (high schools, universities, alternative schools), and share information about HIV and AIDS and Hep C. It feels really great to engage in dialogue about issues which aren’t usually brought up, but very important for teenagers to know.
At SFU, I’m currently an executive for the Health Science Undergraduate Student Union, a member of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, and a member for the Muslim Students Association. I feel like these volunteering experiences have introduced me to a lot of awesome people, and really added to my university experience.
2) What do you think the benefits are of volunteering?
I think volunteering is the best way to introduce yourself to the real world. Not only does it give you the chance the meet amazing people and build your resume, it also helps you with important skills like managing your time efficiently, following through on your commitments, balancing your personal life and working in a team.
4) How do you think these volunteer experiences have helped you?
I think volunteering has made me a better student, and a better worker. I’ve learned how to set realistic goals for myself, procrastinate less (still working on that one!), ask for help when I need it, and actually take the time to reflect on my accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.
5) What was your most unforgettable experience while volunteering?
We were doing outreach for YouthCO at a community centre, and being a sex-positive group, we had condoms laid out in front of our display. A very conservative looking lady came to out booth, picked one up not knowing what it was, then she GASPED, looked horrified… threw on back on the table and ran away. I thought to myself, “we definitely offended her”. 5 minutes later, she came back with 4 of her friends, giggling, picking up condoms, and started asking us questions about safe sex. Needless to say, my co-worker and I did not see that coming but the fact that they felt comfortable enough with us to ask questions was really great, and really rewarding!
6) How do you think we can get more volunteers to be interested?
I think this blog is a great start! (Thanks for the plug Mubnii!) Many students don’t know of how many great opportunities are out there for volunteering. Lots of volunteering organizations will create timelines for their volunteers to build up to certain positions, and many also have room for advancement into a part time or full time job. Also for students who can’t find a club or organization for the cause they’re interested in, start your own!
By Hannah Choo